SWITZERLAND: Scientists fear quick results pressure

Generations of schoolchildren have learned that Switzerland has only two raw materials: water and brainpower. But important as it is, education has never had a ministry of its own, writes Renat Kuenzi for SwissInfo. Last week, after more than 10 years of discussion, responsibility for higher education and research was switched from the interior to the economics ministry, which already looked after professional training.

The move to bring the two closely related areas together under one roof was widely welcomed by members of parliament across the political spectrum.

But there are some dissenting voices in academic circles themselves. The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, one of whose tasks is to contribute to the public debate about scientific issues, have written to Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter warning that it is a mistake to believe that research can be a direct driver of economic growth.
Full report on the SwissInfo site

It's refreshing that Swiss academics understand that research funding and economic growth are loosely correlated at best. That stands in stark contrast to another University World News article this week, in which European Union Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn saying that some seven year research plan will create a million jobs.

Considering how much better economic indicators are in Switzerland than the EU, I know whose take on this I find more persuasive.

Steve Foerster